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How would Turkey leverage after historic gas discovery in Black Sea?

  • Turkey spent billions of dollars on energy imports, which comes at a high cost at a time when the local currency is weakening and the economy is more fragile because of the coronavirus.
Updated 22 Aug 2020

The historic discovery of gas at the Black Sea is being dubbed as a gamechanger by analysts for Turkey, who are of the view that the discovery can help wean the country off imported energy.

“It will solve a lot of our energy supply security problems. Turkey right now is only producing about 1 percent of its natural gas locally - the rest is imported,” says Mustafa Topuz, of MNCM Consulting, reported TRT World.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Turkey had made a historic discovery of gas in the Black Sea.

Turkey spent billions of dollars on energy imports, which comes at a high cost at a time when the local currency is weakening and the economy is more fragile because of the coronavirus.

Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority said in January the country’s annual cost of energy imports was between $12 billion and $13 billion. However, the discovery which is enough to cover Turkey’s total natural gas needs for six years, at current consumption rates would give the country space to negotiate new deals.

“Turkish contracts with its suppliers that amount to 38 billion cubic meters (a year) will expire by 2026. This gas discovery means Turkey doesn’t need to rush to renew its contracts. It gives big leverage to Turkey to renegotiate the terms and pricing,” said Sohbet Karbuz, a Paris-based oil, and gas analyst.

President Erdogan in his announcement said the 320-billion-cubic-meter deep-sea find was made at a site Turkish vessel Fatih began exploring last month. Erdogan added that he hoped to see the first gas reach Turkish consumers in 2023, the 100th anniversary of the birth of the modern republic.